Wednesday 16 September 2015

Dark Angels Quickshoot Review - Part 1 - Special Rules, Relics Warlord Traits 2+ And Special Characters

Hi Readers,

Because I'm now getting really into painting my new Dark Angels army project (hobby butterfly!!) I've decided to do a quick whizz through review of the Dark Angels codex so that I can wrap my head round their rules better by setting them down in digital ink as it were. I'm not going to cover every unit in this book, just the unique things about it, such as relics, special characters and unique units. So without further ado lets jump on in!

Special Rules

Grim Resolve - This grants the model the ability to fire overwatch at ballistic skill 2, fantastic! Virtually every unit has this rule. Also grants stubborn (Thanks Corrm)

Deathwing - Grants fearless and hatred (chaos space marines). Both fairly redundant unless you are facing chaos space marines in which case its very useful indeed. All deathwing units have this as well as company masters. These guys can also split fire and have twin linked weapons on the turn they arrive from deep strike. Tasty. 

Ravenwing - A model with this rule can re-roll jink saves. Just ravenwing specific units and not conferred by taking a bike on an independent character sadly.

That's it really other than normal space marine rules. The real juice of this section is the grim resolve as every unit has it so you can really plan around using that ability without having to select specific units. The ravenwing re-rolling jink saves is an absolute nightmare for anyone without good amounts of high strength AP3 to take care of any sizeable squad of bikers. 

Relics of the Unforgiven

OK, so what do the Dark Angels have up their sleeves? Other than an STC for the nephilim jetfighters that they aren't sharing, oooh heresy burn!

Foe Smiter - An assault 4, shred, mastercrafted storm bolter. A very good price for what it does, especially if you are overwatching at BS2+ or more!

Lion's Roar - Foe Smiter's big brother. A mastercrafted combi-plasma where the plasma component is an assault 1 blast weapon. This will help thin out elite units before a charge to finish them off. Mastercrafted should mitigate the gets hot for a no worries plasma experience. Only 24 inch range but enough to not be worrying about back scatter onto you if you aren't going to charge them, bit touch and go if you are! Good value overall, not under priced either.

Mace of Redemption - +3 strength power weapon with blind, concussive and is AP1 against chaos space marine. Well priced for the extra strength and rules with the AP1 against chaos marines a nice little bonus if you play them. This is an excellent option for any character likely to get stuck in, obvious lack of AP2 but you aren't paying through the nose for it. 

Monster Slayer of Caliban - the worst of the bunch. Roll a D6, on a 1-2 its a regular power sword. 3-4 grants +1 strength, 5-6 grants +2 strength and instant death. More expensive than the Mace of redemption and not as good even on the best roll I feel. You will wound more often with the Mace and it will work that way in every game.

Shroud of Heroes - An absolute steal at two melta bombs in price. This grants the bearer feel no pain and shrouded if they aren't in a unit. Stick it on a bike mounted character with a conversion field and watch them jink away most of their troubles. Work especially well with Librarians wielding offensive powers that have short range. 

The Eye of the Unseen - Grants the bearer fear and preferred enemy special rules. Fear is mostly redundant and preferred enemy is nice, but this isn't great value for what you get. Those points could be better spent I think.

This section has some nice trinkets in the ranged, melee and buffing roles, much better selection than many other codices army special weapons. Pick for me is the Shroud of Heroes with the Mace and Lion's Roar joint second.

Warlord Traits

The Hunt - Grants the Warlord precision shots and ignores cover. Very meh I think given the special characters that have it aren't massively geared for shooting. A bum roll. 

Courage of the First Legion - Fearless and as are all units in 12 inches. Stubborn space marines do not need this. 

For the Lion - Warlord and his unit have furious charge in an army clearly geared to shooting as a preference. Good if you have equipped your warlord for combat but you can't bank on getting this trait!

Brilliant Planning - Gives you a +/- 1 to reserve rolls. Great to get, one of the picks of these traits, again chance though if not taking Azrael (who I will discuss in a later post). 

Rapid Manoeuvre - Can add +3 inches to maximum move for flat-out, turbo boost, run and charge moves. If you want this trait, just take Sammael (below). But joint top trait with Brilliant Planning.

Hold at all Costs - Grants feel no pain when in 3 inches of an objective. Good, but nothing to write home about especially when you chance getting other bum traits rolling for this.

Special Characters

Belial - Terminator armoured with a stat line of a Captains with an extra attack (if memory serves). His unit don't scatter on deep striking and Belial re-rolls to hit rolls in a challenge. Has a mastercrafted, fleshbane power sword and a storm bolter. He can swap these for a thunder hammer and storm shield or two lightening claws. His warlord trait is the Hunt. Force the price of 190 he is not worth it in my opinion unless you are really running a deathwing themed force. He's not weak, he just cost a little bit too much for 3 wounds without eternal warrior for my taste. You can get a company master with a relic blade and artificer armour for 70 points less... thereabouts. That's a whole other squad.

Sammael - Captain stat line with an extra point in toughness and only a 3+ save. He does however have eternal warrior! Only character in the book to be so blessed actually. He's also fearless, has skilled rider, the ravenwing special rule, hit and run, hatred (chaos space marines),  and scout! He has a plasma cannon... twin linked storm bolter, iron halo and teleport homer. He has an additional special rule called Swift vengeance which allows him to fire two weapons in the shooting phase. His Raven Sword is strength user (4) and AP2 at initiative as well as master crafted. He also actually has a bolt pistol so gets the +1 attack for 2 CCW's. This guy is  steal, and I am coming round to his styling, probably because I now own one... His warlord trait is rapid manoeuvre. Well worth his points at 200.

Sableclaw - Oh yeah... Sammael can also opt to take a 14 14 10 land speeder with twin linked assault cannons and heavy bolter. I honestly don't know why you would ever take this option... also 200.

Asmodia - An interrogator chaplain that grants you D3 victory points if he slays the enemy warlord. With his power maul. Great model but the rules just do not fulfil unfortunately. Also has the Hunt as Warlord trait and preferred enemy chaos space marines. Oh and has the Blades of Reason, strength user instant death but also AP - so, ehh, mehh, naaahhh. Costs 140 points, buy a regular interrogator chaplain instead and tool as desired. 

Ezekiel - 2+ save, 3 wounds BS5 WS5 and 3 attacks. Master crafted bolt pistol and Force Sword as well as a psychic hood Mastery level 3, has usual choice of powers as well. He has the Book of Salvation which grants +1 to Dark Angel models within 6 inches, nice but not really useful. He is however excellent access to mastery level 3 on a 2+ save, but a lack of an invulnerable or eternal warrior means he needs to have meat shields to protect him! Warlord trait is Courage of the First Legion so mostly pointless. Costs 145 points, great for the extra mastery levels. 

Well that's a quick run down of these sections. Think differently? Comment below :)

Peace out,



  1. Hi Rob, a nice quick review hitting most of the main points. There are a couple of things I noticed:
    - Grim Resolve also confers Stubborn in addition to the overwatch bonus.
    - Courage of the first legion: I actually think that Fearless is still useful on marines. It stops you breaking from combat and sometimes you want to stay in combat and not get shot at for a turn.
    -Sammael: Unfortunately, Sammael is only Strength 4. I would love it if he was strength 5 with an AP2 sword. He is my favourite HQ and I take him in most of my games. Well worth the 200 pts. The +3" charge bonus is also great for ensuring your Black Knights make it in to combat.

    Look forward to seeing your views on the rest of the codex.

    1. Thanks Corrm! I wrote about them having stubborn but thanks for pointing out I hadn't actually written it down! I also seems to have mixed up WS and S regarding Sammael, bit of a head scratcher there!

      Whilst fearless does help with that, they already have Stubborn and that combined with independent character or veteran sergeant leadership on space marines gives you a great chance of keeping morale, and even if you do break you might get caught and still be locked up. Fearless is better but unless you take Ezekiel and have him as warlord then you can't guarantee it, and if he is your warlord, any old S8 AP2 wound will instant kill him out of cover.

      I think as a whole the Dark Angels and Blood Angels codex are very much diametrically opposed. The Blood Angels have a wealth of fantastic characters but not the same level of formations etc in their codex, whereas the First Legion have this great malleability but their characters tend to be weak, with Sammael being the exception.

      I look forward to hearing your feedback on my other musings! I have edited the post from your comments :)

    2. I agree, with the exception of Sammael (and maybe Ezekiel), the DA special characters are a bit lacklustre.

    3. I was putting Sammael's kit together the other night and am now really looking forward to painting him, though it is so far down my to do list its laughable... I don't know how you ever found time to collect such mighty sized armies as you have!

    4. Fortunately, I have had a lot of years to build up my army and get them painted. Sometimes I go through phases and get a lot painted, other times I do nothing for months on end.

  2. Some of my own thoughts on a few of these. Not correcting or anything, what you've said is all a pretty good run-down, just sort of rambling a bit.

    For the Lion: This is actually pretty decent in a RavenWing force, where you're likely to be running your HQ along with Black Knights. S6 Rending Attacks on the Charge are pretty sweet.

    Given the Reserves Control that several of the Detachments offer, I feel like Rapid Maneuver is the clear winner in Warlord Traits over Brilliant Planning, tho.

    Also, I kind of want to run Azrael with Hold At All Costs in a 50 man Allied IG blob. 50 dudes with 4++ and FNP should take some work to shift.

    The two Relic guns, I keep trying to work into lists, but they always end up being the thing I cut when I want just a few more Points for something else. The Shroud and Mace are excellent, tho. And should you happen to get For the Lion on someone using the Mace, he hits S8 on the Charge, which is always cool.

    I priced it out, and I think a Captain kitted out as close as I could get him to Belial was still 30-40 Points cheaper.

    Ezekiel: I have his Model from way back in the day, and one of these days I kind of want to borrow my friend's Plasma Obliterator to put him behind the trigger and get a 7" Ignores Cover Plasma Blast. Short of something like that, tho, he's very underwhelming.

    1. For the lion is a good choice for anyone running ravenwing actually now you say it, unfortunately a lot of people will want to use the ravenwing detachment which can only have Sammael and Sammael is just very good for Ravenwing particularly with eternal warrior, but thanks for pointing that out, I was blind to it!

      Ah, I will come to the great powers of Azrael! I've judged this codex so far as a microcosm with assumption it'll be pure Dark Angel, but when you look at allies coming in, particularly guard, these guys can dish out some supreme buffs.

      I think you have to work them in specifically as shooty as possible, I will have an army composition up soon that I'm working towards for you to look at. It utilises the Lion's Roar with drop podding melta command, this ensures that the Plasma aspect can match the Melta AP nearly so they can fire at the same targets. Foe smiter I would drop in with a flamer squad for horde thinning I think. But I too have found myself dropping them to pay for upgrades elsewhere. The mace and the shroud are both excellent indeed.

      Belial and Asmodai are quite a disappointment for me, and Ezekiel isn't too far behind, but he at least does bring great psychic utility to the force.

      Thanks as always for your insight westrider!

    2. Grrr. Just noticed I typoed there. Asmodai is the one I'd put on the Plasma Obliterator. It would be even better if he could run one of the Punisher Cannon from a Vengeance Weapons Battery for massed Precision shots, but that's Automated Fire Only.

      Ezekiel, I do like. He doesn't have all the cool stuff he could (a Bike or Jump Pack for mobility would be ideal), but he's a bargain for a Lvl3 Psyker with 3 Wounds and a 2+ Sv. And that's before looking at his Buff Aura, or the Master-Crafted Weapons. I'd probably bring him alongside someone else to be Warlord, because his Trait is mediocre at best, but as a Support Character, he's pretty good.

      I like the Relic Guns, but like I said, things always just get too tight, and they're never really critical, so they get dropped.